The clockwise rotation and southeastward extrusion of the southeastern Tibetan Plateau have played important roles in accommodating the uplift and deformation of the plateau. Numerous paleomagnetic studies have suggested post−late Eocene clockwise rotation of the southeastern Tibetan Plateau along the eastern Himalaya syntaxis, whereas few researchers have addressed the specific Eocene deformation, leading to ambiguous interpretations of the tectonic evolution in the region. Herein, we conducted a paleomagnetic study of the Yunlong Formation in the Yunlong Basin, which is Late Cretaceous to early Paleocene in age. In total, 386 oriented samples were collected. Rock magnetic, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) analyses revealed detrital carriers, such as hematite and some magnetite. In thermal demagnetization processes, 332 characteristic remanent magnetizations were isolated, which yielded positive reversals and tilt tests, providing a site-mean direction of declination (Ds) = 56.0° ± 2.6°, inclination (Is) = 34.3° ± 3.8°, α95 = 2.7°, k = 91.0, and N = 31 after tilt correction. Magnetostratigraphic analysis was performed, and a depositional age of 79−61 Ma for the section was obtained, which is consistent with the previous paleontological and detrital zircon ages. Compared with the Eurasia reference pole of the period, the data revealed a 45.2° ± 5.1° clockwise rotation of the Yunlong area since 79−61 Ma. The integrated regional paleomagnetic results suggest the occurrence of ∼20° of clockwise rotation of the Lanping-Simao terrane during the Eocene, which is similar (in terms of magnitude and time of occurrence) to that of the Gonjo Basin in the eastern Qiangtang terrane. Integrated with other lines of geologic evidence, we propose a new deformation model in which the entire southeastern Tibetan Plateau experienced ∼20° of rigid clockwise rotation during the Eocene, followed by subsequent oroclinal bending.

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